Have a long day today – leave Vik and head for Reykjavik with several stops along the way.
Started off by backtracking a short distance to the coast to see some rock formations along the coast. Most were formed by erosion from an eruption about 80,000 years ago – really quite interesting.
From there went a short way to try to go see a glacier outflow which was supposed to be on a ‘rough road’. Road was paved the entire 6 km to the glacier! So walked down to the face of the glacier, looked around pictures, etc. then back to the car and to the next site a really big (200 ft.) waterfall. Be sure to look at the picture when it is posted. The fall has carved its bed out of basalt rock so have these large six sided rods at the falls. Similar to the rods we saw at Black Beach yesterday. One can tell we are getting closer to Reykjavik as the crowds are much larger at these sites and the traffic has certainly picked up. Toward the latter part of the morning the road starts heading inland and away from the coast. In the southern portion of the country, there are not many cliffs along the coast so it is now much flatter. We are getting into farmland with many more houses and the towns are larger. There are no mountains as we would know them – their mountains are low and the highest mountain is about 6,900 ft. while the tenth highest as about 4,400 ft. The farming seems to be primarily hay to overwinter the livestock. Most everywhere you look are hay fields – not our kind of tall hay but about a couple of feet at the most. There are a LOT of horses in this area. A number of places even seem to sell, train or have rides on what we would call a Tennessee Walker – Don’t know what they call them here. Still, have the sheep but horses are the thing in the south and southeast.
Saw another waterfall – tall one that one could walk behind and then from there stopped at a volcanic caldera – not big but about 250 meters across. From there went to Geysir which is a location with a number of active geysers. Very, very much a tourist site – didn’t cost anything so that was okay!
Guess what we went to another waterfall and this one was REALLY impressive – multiple levels quite wide and really big. Not as big, in terms of water flow, as the one we saw the other day at Dettifloss. But certainly one of THE sights of the trip!
The last thing for the day was a visit to Þingvellir National Park where the rift that splits Iceland is located – read the following from The Geography of Iceland – from Google:
“Iceland has extensive volcanic and geothermal activity. The rift associated with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which marks the division between the European and North American tectonic plates, runs across Iceland from the southwest to the northeast. This geographic feature is prominent at the Þingvellir National Park, where the promontory creates an extraordinary natural amphitheater. The site was the home of Iceland’s parliament, the Alþing, which was first convened in 930. It is a common misconception that Þingvellir are located at the juncture between the North American and Eurasian continental plates. However, they are in fact at the juncture of the North American continental plate and a smaller plate (approx. 10,000 km2) called the Hreppar Microplate (Hreppaflekinn).”.
Was a long day but saw a lot and is good to back in Reykjavik!
Drive to Reynishverfi with its black beaches and the beautiful pinnacles Reynisdrangar. Thousands of seabirds nest here in sea cliffs in the summer. Continue to the majestic Skógafoss Waterfall, situated at the foot of the infamous Eyjafjallajökull Glacier and volcano that erupted in 2010.
Continue to the mesmerizing Seljalandsfoss Waterfall where you can gain a unique perspective by walking behind the waterfall.
Continue to Hvolsvöllur town where the surrounding area is the scene of Njáls Saga, one of the most famous Icelandic sagas. Continue on to the Kerið Volcanic Crater and the beautiful Faxi Waterfall. Next on the agenda is the famous Great Geysir and Strokkur, an active geyser that spouts boiling hot water up to 20 meters in the air every few minutes.
Continue inland to the awe-inspiring Gullfoss Waterfall (the Golden Waterfall) one of Iceland’s largest and most beautiful falls.
From Gullfoss head back to visit Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Þingvellir National Park is an historic site where the Icelandic Parliament was established in 930. Þingvellir is also hauntingly beautiful with its rugged lunar-like landscapes on the spot where two continental plates meet creating a fascinating rift valley. Head back to Reykjavík across Mosfellsheiði Heath.